Graveyards of fetuses and funds for life, so the right is trying to destroy abortion rights

Graveyards of fetuses and funds for life, so the right is trying to destroy abortion rights

During the election campaign, Giorgia Meloni repeated for months that she was 194, la abortion rights. It can be said that the promise has been kept: the 194 has not even been touched, but the law has many other ways of restricting access to voluntary abortion and gives the impression that it is trying all, especially at the local level. The strategy should be familiar by now: “lifetime” applications, fetal cemeteries, regional laws guaranteeing anti-abortion organizations access to public counselors, non-abortion funds. All initiatives that have nothing to do with the law that decriminalized abortion 45 years ago, but which mention it in their own documents. Nonetheless, the opposition’s strategy is still to demand compliance with this law, although it should be clear by now that if the brothers of Italy “the full application of 194/78” in the first point of his electoral program (devoted to the fight against the declining birth rate) it is perhaps worth widening the view.

In fact, what is happening at the local level needs to be watched, in a continuation of what has been done in recent years by right-wing governments who have had free reign to dismantle the abortion service through resolutions. An example is what happened in Piedmontwhere the councilor of Fratelli d’Italia Maurizio Marrone had tried against the new guidelines on medical abortion 2020 approved by the Ministry of Health. From there, the commissioner launched a project that gradually guaranteed the entry of anti-abortion associations into public health, first by establishing agreements between consultants and associations such as the Movement for Life. Then, in 2022, the region provided 400,000 euros for the “emerging life fund’, presented as a contribution for women in financial distress who decide against an abortion and which, however, initially comes from the coffers of the affiliated associations (which must have the purpose of ‘protecting unborn life’ in their statutes) . The fund would cover about 100 newborns. In April 2023 the region doubled the fundwhich brings it to 1 million euros, news that has gone fairly unnoticed despite last year’s heated controversy.

A similar initiative was presented in Puglia, where Social Councilor Rosa Barone of the 5 Star Movement had signed a resolution providing financial support of 5,000 euros to support difficult motherhood. After the controversy of the left and the associations who claimed it was a cfinancial contribution to prevent abortion, the decision was suspended by the chairman Michele Emiliano. Matteo Salvini and the Forum of Family Associations, a network that brings together various Italian anti-abortion groups, intervened to defend the initiative.

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The league has just proposed in two municipalities Rome a motion aimed at proclaiming the city “for life”. Similar applications have also been submitted in the past Verona (where it was approved in 2018), Milan and in various Italian cities. Their goal is to involve governments in anti-abortion activities, including the Funding of anti-choice associations and initiatives such as the Gemma Project, an economic contribution pledged to women who choose not to have an abortion. It is now clear that the economic issue has been identified as the sole cause pushing women to terminate a pregnancy. The documented presence of anti-abortion groups in counseling centers and public hospitals aims to promote these loans as the “alternative to abortion” that women are being urged to take at a time of particular vulnerability and insecurity. Some research has shown that these associations often do not explicitly declare their anti-abortion purposes, but present themselves as counselors to which women are invited by health workers themselves.

All this is granted, if not encouraged, by Law 194/78, which in the first part speaks of “overcoming the causes that could lead a woman to terminate a pregnancy”. When government and majority leaders speak of the “full application of 194,” they are referring to exactly that.

In addition to the legal instruments, it is also the cultural climate which was founded in recent months to pursue an increasingly pervasive anti-abortion campaign that public outrage and the activism of feminist groups seem unable to scratch. Despite the strong and widespread opposition that has attracted media attention from around the world, the Government of Ragusa (a civic list supported by the Friars of Italy) wanted to inaugurate a new one baby graveyard in Ragusa-Ibla. The “Campo degli Angeli”, located within the municipal cemetery, was approved and requested by the local life support center in 2019, but has only now been built just before the election campaign. In the last two years, also after the fall of the Flaminio cemetery in Rome with the names of women aborted on crosses, Fratelli d’Italia have proposed to institutionalize fetal cemeteries also in Abruzzo and Marche.

The cemeteries of the fetuses are added a Banging discourse on the birth rate, which, instead of addressing the lack of social services, blames women who seek abortion and promotes an ideological battle over reproductive issues that includes the words: the introduction of “Day of Expectant Life”, “the right to abortion” (the already exists, no one is obliged to resort to it), voluntary abortion, which is becoming a “culture of waste” and a “culture of death”. This semantic reversal is part of a battle that is now being fought on all possible fronts, except for the frontal and direct attack of 194/78, which is indeed proving to be a valuable ally for Meloni and his government. The prime minister cannot afford to take steps that are too risky, as the election campaign taught her, in which she repeatedly found herself in the embarrassing situation of having to talk about abortion, but in the confusion of local government anything goes. Among the countless resolutions, motions, agendas and regional laws, it is easier to burn the earth around abortion without making too much noise than to pull out the 194 paper in the face of all the objections. The face of the government comes out unscathed, but the consequences are hitting those who want to terminate a pregnancy in the meantime.

Jennifer Guerra was born in the province of Brescia in 1995 and now lives in the province of Treviso. Professional journalist, his writings have been published L’Espresso, Sette, La Stampa And The vision, where she worked as an editor. She also edited the feminist podcast AntiCorpi for this magazine. She is interested in gender issues, feminisms and LGBTQ+ rights. He wrote for Edizioni Tlon The Electric Body. The desire to get into feminism (2020) and for Bompiani The capital of love. Manifesto for a political and revolutionary Eros (2021). She is a big fan of Ernest Hemingway.

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